MATERIALS SCIENCE

Explore how the use of natural and manmade materials further technology. Read articles on subjects such as nanotechnology, iron steel and reverse osmosis.
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How Electroluminescent (EL) Wire Works

Versatile and efficient, electroluminescent (EL) wire is widely used by artists to illuminate clothing, bicycle spokes, turntables and even cars. But how does this cool product work with so little power and without a visible energy source?

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  • How Aerogels Work

    How Aerogels Work

    This not-so-new material looks like a hologram and could play a valuable role in the future of insulation, electronics, oil spill cleanup and green energy. So why don't aerogels have the A-list name recognition they deserve? See more »

  • How Brazing Works

    How Brazing Works

    Welding isn't the only way to make metals, like the ones on your aviator shades, meet up. Brazing can do the trick, too, with a little heat, some filler and some capillary action. See more »

  • How Dyneema Works

    How Dyneema Works

    Dyneema is trademarked as the world's strongest fiber. Find out how this high-strength synthetic is capable of protecting an individual (or an entire vehicle) from IEDs or even shots fired from an AK47. See more »

  • How Electroluminescent (EL) Wire Works

    How Electroluminescent (EL) Wire Works

    Versatile and efficient, electroluminescent (EL) wire is widely used by artists to illuminate clothing, bicycle spokes, turntables and even cars. But how does this cool product work with so little power and without a visible energy source? See more »

  • How Iron and Steel Work

    How Iron and Steel Work

    The refining of iron ore is one of our most historically significant achievements. The element is so important that primitive societies are measured by the point at which they learn how to refine it. See more »

  • How Kinesio Tape Works

    How Kinesio Tape Works

    Sports injury taping has undergone a quiet revolution over the last 30 years. How can a pattern of tape stuck to your body help you heal from (or prevent) an injury? See more »

  • How Nanotechnology Works

    How Nanotechnology Works

    Nanotechnology is so new, no one is really sure what will come of it. Even so, predictions range from the ability to reproduce things like diamonds and food to the world being devoured by self-replicating nanorobots. See more »

  • How Nanowires Work

    How Nanowires Work

    Welcome to the wonderful and weird world of nanowires. Scientists can adapt this incredibly thin material for a number of uses, whether as a fiber-optic nanowire or to build increasingly smaller microprocessors. They're even used in medical implants. See more »

  • How Plastics Work

    How Plastics Work

    Plastics can be shaped or molded into any form, and they're everywhere -- in your car, computer, toys and even bubble gum. But because they don't degrade, they cause big problems when it's time to throw them out. See more »

  • How Reverse Osmosis Works

    How Reverse Osmosis Works

    Turning saltwater into tasty, drinkable H20 at desalination plants like this one is probably the biggest selling point of reverse osmosis, but let's back up a minute. What's osmosis, and why -- and how -- is reversing it useful to us? See more »

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